In November, Reliance Industries Ltd, one of the largest multi-national companies in India, bundled its digital businesses together into a new subsidiary, Jio Platforms Ltd.
As well as tech-based initiatives in education, healthcare and agriculture, Jio Platforms Ltd became the umbrella for RelianceJio– aka the largest telco in India, with over 388m subscribers.
Jio Platforms Ltd was partly created, according to India’s business media, in order to attract investment into RelianceJio ahead of a 5G roll-out.
That investment has already been forthcoming, and impressive: last month (April 22) Facebook acquired a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms Ltd in a deal worth ₹43,574 crore (approximately $5.7bn), which the latter company said gave it a ₹4.62 lakh crore ($65.95bn) enterprise value.
Today (May 4), Reliance announced that US-based private equity tech investor Silver Lake – which has previously invested in Twitter and Airbnb – has now invested ₹5,655.75 crore (approximately $750m) into Jio Platforms Ltd. The latter company said the deal gives it a ₹5.15 lakh crore ($68.05bn) enterprise value.
As a result, Silver Lake has attained a stake worth between 1% and 2% in Jio Platforms Ltd.
Where this becomes of interest to the music industry is JioSaavn, the music streaming platform that was born out of $1bn merger in 2018 between Reliance Industries / JioMusic and decade-old music streaming service Saavn.
JioSaavn – majority-owned by Reliance Industries / Jio – runs both an ad-free and a premium tier, JioSaavn Pro, which currently costs just Rs 399 (approximately $5.27) for a full year’s-worth of subscription.
JioSaavn boasts comfortably more than 100 Monthly Active Users (MAUs). Its CEO, Rishi Malhotra, told MBW last year: “I can tell you from our streaming volume, and from our user base, in terms of the Jio data subscribers, it is pretty safe to say that we are the largest [music] streaming service in [India].”
Now, JioSaavn’s parent company has just raised over $6bn.
Commenting on the transaction with Silver Lake today, Mukesh Ambani (pictured), Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd, said, “I am delighted to welcome Silver Lake as a valued partner in continuing to grow and transform the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians.
“Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”
Egon Durban, Silver Lake Co-CEO and Managing Partner, said: “Jio Platforms is one of the world’s most remarkable companies, led by an incredibly strong and entrepreneurial management team who are driving and actualizing a courageous vision.
“They have brought extraordinary engineering capabilities to bear on bringing the power of low-cost digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population. The market potential they are addressing is enormous, and we are honored and pleased to have been invited to partner with Mukesh Ambani and the team at Reliance and Jio to help further the Jio mission.”
“In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The [Facebook] partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation.”
Mukesh Ambani (pictured)
Commenting last month on the Facebook deal, Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani said: “When Reliance launched Jio in 2016, we were driven by the dream of INDIA’S DIGITAL SARVODAYA – India’s Inclusive Digital Rise to improve the quality of life of every single Indian and to propel India as the world’s leading Digital Society.
“All of us at Reliance are therefore humbled by the opportunity to welcome Facebook as our long-term partner in continuing to grow and transform the digital ecosystem of India for the benefit of all Indians. The synergy between Jio and Facebook will help realise Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ Mission with its two ambitious goals — ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ – for every single category of Indian people without exception.
“In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation.”
[Mukesh Ambani picture credit: Reliance Industries Ltd 2016 AGM]Music Business Worldwide